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More about publishing of the KGB documents

On January 5th 2018, The Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Centre (LGGRTC) completed publishing on the www.kgbveikla.lt website the Register of KGB Agency Archive Personal Records (hereinafter – the Register). The LGGRTC became obliged to make public the KGB documents after the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the law on Supplement to Article 5 of the Law on LGGRTC in 2010 (Official Gazette No. XI – 962).

The purpose of publishing KGB documents on the www.kgbveikla.lt website is to educate the public on KGB activity and methods thus satisfying the public interest. Therefore, publishing of this Register together with the related research assists in the identification of relevant material, which could be used as source for studies of KGB activity and its methods. Some results obtained will be useful to historians-researchers and those who are eager to know more about the Soviet era.

Data presented in the Register, the first entries into which were made in 1987, comprises informative material about agents, informants and other secret KGB collaborators recruited during different periods from 1940 to 1979. The principle of composing and the purpose of this Register are not known. After analysing more closely additional archive and various other sources providing some information about the persons, whose full names are included into the list of collaborators, it has been established that some of the recruited persons did not work as agents. Probably, they gave their consent to be agents in order to send chekists away. Another probability exists that some persons could be included into the list of agents to compromise these persons or just for operative purposes. Soviet secret services sometimes (in fact, frequently during armed resistance times) deliberately disseminated information on person’s alleged collaboration with the KGB. Therefore, person’s full name entry into the Register of Agents does not necessarily mean that this recruited person factually collaborated with the Soviet security structures and was engaged in the active activity as an agent.

Publishing of the Register started at the end of 2012 and continued until the 5th January 2018. Data on 1669 persons has been analysed. This Register is not a secret document and will not be such, as it will be available unrestrictedly at Lithuanian Special Archives (full names of persons who admitted collaboration with the KGB are excluded on the basis of the Law on Registering, Entry into Records and Protection of Persons who have Admitted to Secret Collaboration with Special Services of the Former USSR; the number of these persons is 22). This is why it has been especially important to conduct additional research in respect of the activity of persons, whose names are included in the Register, as information about them could be inconsistent with reality (as in the cases of V. Sidzikauskas, V. Sladkevičius or other persons, the number of which reaches 37).

In 2011, after handing over the KGB documents, including the present Register, preserved by the State Security Department (VSD) to Lithuanian Special Archives, and the public becoming aware of the existence of such a document, the idea to digitize the contents of the Register and make it public emerged. LGGRTC did not give its consent to the digitizing and committed itself to analyse individually all available information about the facts mentioned in the Register and submit additional comments. The work lasted for five years and was not easy. First of all, due to lack of sources. In 1990 - 1991, many KGB documents were destroyed or transported to Russia. Among disappeared documents, there were personal records and work records of KGB agents that could be the most reliable and direct way to clear up the activity of the agents. As no records were present, the search for information encompassed thousands KGB operative, agency, criminal and special inspection records

Analysis data

Publishing of the list of agents, like making public many other KGB documents, must be considered critically. The entire Register of Agents is hand-written. Full names of several persons at the end of the list are written using a slightly different pen and in a slightly different writing. As there was no chronological sequence observed in the Register, a special attention has been paid to verification of the data provided there. Among the persons, whose names are written at the end, such as Donatas Banionis, Saulius Sondeckis, also Antanas Urbonas is named. He is the person who betrayed Adolfas Ramanauskas – Vanagas, and there is no doubt as to his collaboration with the KGB. Vincas Sladkevičius’s name is written at the end as well, still the circumstances of this name entry at the end of the list remain unclear, as other documents show that V. Sladkevičius, who was being recruited in 1958, did not collaborate (agent’s work records were not executed), and in one year removed from the network of agents. He went to Nemunėlio Radviliškis, where used to live under virtual house arrest. Next to this name, another bishop’s name is written: Liudvikas Povilonis, whose ties with KGB were suspected even in the Soviet times. Another name is that of the traitor Krizostomas Labanauskas, a former partisan.

All agents, whose full names are included in the list, had been recruited by the KGB of Lithuanian SSR or other KGB divisions. Not all recruits wanted to collaborate with the Soviet secret agency. In addition, the work of the agents should not be valued uniformly and equally. Some liaisons, arrested during the partisan warfare, partisans, or people with no relation to the partisans, in order to escape NKVD, used to give their consent to become agents or informants, still later retreated to the forests and informed the partisans and folks on their recruitment or used to hide somewhere else. There were persons related to the underground that aligned their recruitment with the partisans, received permission from the partisans and later coordinated with them disinformation provided to the NKVD-MGB. Some people after recruiting tried to mislead security services, provided security officers with useless information, avoided collaborating, and some in order not to collaborate retreated to the West. Some cases happened when persons had been recruited, forced to collaborate, still they did not want to and made attempts to retreat to the Western countries; due to this, criminal actions had been brought against the latter.

The Register of Agents contains full names of:

- the agents who betrayed partisans and were sentenced to death by decision of the partisan court-martial;
- the agents, who used to kill partisans with their own hands, non-Lithuanians among them as well, who had not been connected to the underground, just requested as the striking force;
- the agents who betrayed significant numbers of people or the agents who betrayed commanders of the partisans, who assisted in arresting partisans or those who killed partisans themselves.

The names of agents, whose activity took place abroad or who were recruited foreigners, suspected as belonging to foreign intelligence services or recruited to spy on such suspects, are included in the list as well. There are several names of agents who used to spy on Lithuanian diaspora written as well (in reality it was a female in the USA).

Some agents used to file just ordinary reports about topics of conversations among people familiar to those agents, about people’s moods, their attitudes towards the Soviet authorities; some disinformed the partisans when communicating. During the years of Stalin rule, such ordinary reports caused arrests, interrogations and imprisonment. The names of so called prison cell agents are entered into the Register as well. These agents were arrested people, who, during conversations with cell neighbours, used to obtain information and did harm to the interlocutors.

Controversial cases have been observed as well, when a recruited agent had betrayed people, still later he made attempts to elude his pursuers, who were trying to involve him into more active collaboration, yet after repeated arrest and being interrogated he provided information about people. Some cases culminated even in death sentence although the facts prove agent’s collaboration. The Register contains a significant number of full names of priests. Some of them betrayed people or their conduct demonstrated support to the policy of the Soviet regime in respect of religion, while others made efforts to avoid contacts with Soviet security structures.

The history of each person, whose full name had been entered into the Register, is a unique story, hence it must be valued individually.

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